Recently, I have been working with my colleagues, Sheila and Wilbert, looking at the latest developments and trends in Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives worldwide. JISC has a long term record of interest in sharing and re-using digital content and has already supported many institutional repository projects in the provision of free access to teaching and learning materials in HE/FE (such as Jorum). It appears that OER will have a significant impact on managing and accessing the existing repositories and in taking these initiatives forward as part of a global movement. We thought it might be useful to carry out a review of OERs that might benefit the JISC community in planning funding programs and in opening up discussions on future research directions concerning the use and re-use of digital content.
The work took much longer than we expected due to the complexity and rapid development of OERs. In the last few months, we have studied several well“known OER projects, such as MIT OCW, OpenLearn, Rice Connexions and have drawn invaluable lessons from them. We have reviewed a number of large scale studies on OERs to help gain a better understanding of the main issues in the field. In addition, by following OER blogs, David Wileys and blogs, we have been able to draw upon the latest thinking and debates on major issues. We also had a number of discussions with colleagues in CETIS, such as Phil and Lorna, and they have given us lots of valuable suggestions. We finally produced an OER briefing paper as a quick introduction to funding bodies, institutions and educators who are interested in OER initiatives. The paper includes three sections: a) the conceptual and contextual issues of Open Educational Resources; b) current OER initiatives: their scale, approaches, main issues and challenges; and c) trends emerging in Open Educational Resources, with respect to future research and activities.
The briefing paper is an initial attempt to get some input from the wider JISC community and get further debate started around the OER initiatives. It is intended to be a fluid document since the landscape on this subject is changing so rapidly at present. One of the ways we would like to keep it current would be to draw a group of people who are interested in OER together to continue to explore the issues, to share some thoughts and to participate in our discussions. Please contact Li Yuan (firstname.lastname@example.org or 01204903851) for more information about Open Content working group and further events at CETIS.